Funeral held for Bronx teen killed in a gang attack
NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of mourners said farewell on Wednesday to a teenager whose brutal stabbing death last week shocked a Bronx community, as six suspects extradited from New Jersey appeared in court to face murder charges.
Funeral services were held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Bronx for 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, affectionately known as Junior, who was attacked by a gang of men outside a bodega June 20. He collapsed and died while running to a nearby hospital after being stabbed and slashed in the neck with a machete.
“We are gathered here in shock, silence and pain,” the Rev. David Guzman said in Spanish. “Today, a shadow of sadness covers us, Lesandro’s family, the Bronx, but also New York City and the whole world.”
The funeral ended with a crowd of several hundred outside the church chanting of “Justice for Junior!” as pallbearers dressed in Yankees jerseys loaded his casket into a hearse.
Eight suspects have been arrested on murder, manslaughter and gang assault charges, including six who were extradited from New Jersey on Wednesday.
Authorities said the suspects are members of the Trinitarios gang. They said Guzman-Feliz, who dreamed of becoming a police officer and was a member of the NYPD’s Explorers program, may have been mistakenly targeted by the gang.
The boy’s killing was captured on video surveillance and was widely condemned. A makeshift memorial outside the bodega, which was visited by NBA star Carmelo Anthony, continues to grow.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wants find a way to honor his memory by naming part of the Explorers program after him.
“We want the next generation of young people who want to serve in the police to know about the young man who didn’t’ get a chance to, and be inspired by him,” de Blasio said during “Inside City Hall,” a live broadcast on NY1.